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Charles K. McNeil

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Charles Kline McNeil
Born(1903-08-16)August 16, 1903
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DiedApril 7, 1981(1981-04-07) (aged 77)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Known forCreating the points spread in sports betting

Charles Kline McNeil[1] (16 August 1903 – 7 April 1981)[2][3] was the inventor of the point spread in sports gambling.[4][5] McNeil earned a Master's Degree from the University of Chicago. He then taught math at the Riverdale Country School in New York and at the Choate School in Connecticut. His students included John F. Kennedy. He was also a securities analyst in Chicago.[4] While gambling on the side, he developed the point spread, betting not on the probability of the final outcome, but on the expected difference in score.

He eventually opened his own bookmaking operation in the 1940s.[4] McNeil's method is used today in different areas; anything from basketball to poker. He started the new method of trading and changed the way people bet.[6][better source needed]

McNeil's invention, the point spread, revolutionized sports betting by introducing a method of wagering on the margin of victory between competing teams. This system, more commonly used in football and basketball, aims to level the playing field by creating a form of handicap between the favorite team and the underdog. The point spread is represented as a positive (+) or negative (-) number, indicating the predicted margin of victory or defeat.[7]


  1. ^ "Ancestry.com".
  2. ^ "Find a Grave".
  3. ^ Social Security Death Index
  4. ^ a b c Robert H. Boyle (March 10, 1986). "The Brain That Gave Us The Point Spread". Sports Illustrated. p. 34.
  5. ^ "Point Spread". Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Boycott Tote Bookmakers". Retrieved 2011-05-20.
  7. ^ Arum, Victor (2023-12-14). "Point Spread Betting – Spread Betting In Sports". Sportslens.com. Retrieved 2024-01-04.

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